Swimming Notebook: Vol. 1

By Brian Weaver 

Current record: 3-1
GO BIG: Springfield boasts the biggest team in school history this year, including four more divers to help balance out the roster, and that couldn’t happen at a better time. The new Suburban One League conference alignments keep the Spartans in the American Conference with bigger schools, but head coach Nick Militello is just fine with the arrangement.
“We have a distinct advantage being a AA school in a AAA league,” he said. “We get to swim against fast teams, so we’re used to that you have perform all the time, and we have to be ready.”
Springfield’s only loss so far was to Radnor, a Central League AAA school.
YOUNG GUNS: “We have 18 sophomores, most of them have a lot of experience,” Militello said. “We have seen a lot of turnaround in their physical growth and their swimming growth. Last year’s season got them more motivated. Most of them that hadn’t been swimming [year-round] got into it.”
The solid sophomore unit boasts a number of swimmers capable of making districts. According to Militello, it all depends on when they peak.
YOUNG GUNS II: The Springfield first-years are also finding their groove. “Freshmen John Hacking and Jesse Fallon have been outstanding in distance and backstroke,” Militello said. “Pretty much anything I’ve been swimming in they’ve been hitting their district times.”
Additionally, the freshmen on the team are long-time aquatic club swimmers. Militello hasn’t forgotten his returners, though.
“We have our old reliables, our swimmers who have been here,” he said. “Hugh Pedly as a senior, Jake Oeschger as a sophomore are looking to follow up, and Sal Giordano was an outstanding district swimmer.”
MARCO…!: The addition of water polo as a varsity sport has given the Spartan boys much more time in the pool. Militello points to this additional season in the water as a primary reason that his squad is hitting their best times from last year at the beginning of this year.
Wednesday, January 7 – Upper Dublin
Friday, January 9 – Norristown
Wednesday January 14 – Cheltenham
Current record: 6-0
ROAD TRIP: The opening of the Indians’ new pool has been great, but the state-of-the-art facility made for a few field trips. The team has bounced among neighboring clubs and schools to get pool time while their new home venue received its finishing touches. Head coach Ted Schueller was pleased with his team’s reaction to the situation, though.
“We were hopping around with practices, weight rooms, and dry land, and swimming two practices a day,” he said. “But give the girls credit, they never complained.”
WHY WAIT?: Two freshmen have already qualified for districts.
“Brooke Burschlag qualified in the 200 Individual Medley and she’s very close in the 100 Butterfly,” Schueller said. “Madison Myers made it in the 200 and 500 Freestyles. She’s really improved her sprinting and she was never a sprinter.”
Burschlag has shaved five seconds off of her 200 IM time, and Myers has dropped serious seconds off of her times in the 50 free and her relay splits for the 100. The two join 11 teammates in district qualifying, putting the team well past the halfway mark of Schueller’s pre-season goal – 20 district qualifiers.
PAGING BILLY BANKS…: The Indians are using a new finish for their final weekly sessions this year.
“On Saturdays we started doing Tae Bo,” Schueller laughed. “The guys took to it, too. They really got into it, and every Saturday now we finish off with 20 minutes or so of Tae Bo. It helps with core and flexibility, especially on our starts and turns.”
SISTER ACT: CR North has four sets of sisters on the team.
“My first year there were two sets, my second year there were two, and then when I went to hand the roster into the athletic director and said, ‘Whoa, how about that,’” Schueller said. “We’ll race them against each other in relays.”
Friday, January 9 – William Tennant
Wednesday, January 12 – at Neshaminy
Wednesday, January 19 – Bensalem
Friday, January 21 – Abington
Current record: 6-1
STRONG START: The first seven meets have been very friendly to the Ghosts, who have won six of their first seven.
“We’re very happy [to be 6-0]. It’s a very good start,” head coach Joe Lennon said. “We’ve been pretty excited with the commitment of the kids.”
FREE THINKING: The Ghost philosophy of freestyle first is paying its dividends early.
“We focus a lot of our training on freestyle,” Lennon said. “You can win a meet with freestylers. We’ve been pretty successful building from there and being strong in free relays and depth-wise.”
The Ghosts have several swimmers who are excelling across the board in the freestyle.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT: Alayna Ryan is one of the swimmers fulfilling Lennon’s prophecy that freestyle will win meets.
“She’s been having an excellent year so far, sprint to distance,” he said. “Her best are distance. She’s ahead of where she was the last couple of years, and we’re looking for her to make districts.”
Freshman Kelly Roedig is also a tremendous freestyler across the board, but very good in distance free. She already qualified with fast times in 200 and 500 freestyles.
“We have a very strong freestyle team,” Lennon admitted. “We’ve also gotten one of two free relays in, but other one still in progress.”
Wednesday, January 7 – William Tennant
Friday, January 9 – Pennsbury
Current record: 6-0
ONE AT A TIME: Abington’s boys have exploded out of the gates, perfect through their first half-dozen meets. Lennon, who also coaches the boys, won’t get ahead of himself, and won’t allow his team to, either.
“We have had some tougher meets overall already,” he said. “But the big heavy hitters are yet to come with Council Rock and Pennsbury coming up soon.”
BUSINESS AS USUAL: Sean Stark, a junior, is swimming well once again.
“He’s been a great swimmer from his freshman year,” Lennon said. “He’s really come into his own this year as a confident men’s swimmer where I can put him into any freestyle event I need and he can come in first.”
Given the Ghosts’ focus on freestyle excellence, Stark is a weapon Lennon can use strategically in almost every situation.
LEADING THE WAY: Stark’s performance is impressive, but Lennon also points quickly to senior Dennis Kane’s fast start to the year.
“[He’s] another senior who is really putting everything together this year,” the Ghosts’ coach said. “He already qualified for districts in the 500 free. Sprinting, he was always a step behind his distance events. But this year his sprinting is very, very fast.”
Wednesday, January 7 – William Tennant
Friday, January 9 – Pennsbury
Current record: 2-0
FEELIN’ FINE: A solid start for CB East comes right back to the quality of its swimmers.
“I’ve got a nice team,” head coach Ed Walsh. “I’ve got some guys that are swimming really well.”
BACK TO WORK: Walsh appreciates the team’s early success, but acknowledges that his team has several good teams in the weeks after the winter break.
“We have Quakertown right after vacation and Wissahickon a week from this coming Monday, which is going to be a tough meet for us,” he said.
The Patriots already swam and beat Central Bucks South, which Walsh indicated was a good litmus test for the season.
Wednesday, January 7 – Quakertown
Monday, January 12  – Wissahickon